Published On: Mon, Dec 1st, 2014

Have Separatists been rejected?

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Have Separatists been rejected?

By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

The naked eye has witnessed a higher percentage of participation of voters in the first phase of elections in Kashmir. It should not be a surprise unless India does not consider the people of Kashmir politically conscious. Indian electronic media in particular and print media in general seems to have woken up to prove an ordinary exercise of Right to Vote as a vote of no trust against Separatist leaders engaged (those not restrained) in a poll boycott and more than that as an expression of some sort of giving up on the right to self-determination.

The conclusion is wrong. It is neither an expression of no trust nor giving up on anything. In fact Indian media either on its own or at the behest of establishment in Delhi is making a serious mistake. Local elections in political terms empower a local person to attain internal self-determination and it has to lead to ultimate attainment of external self-determination, which continues to remain justiciable at the UN Security Council since 1948-49. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been designated by the UN to put in place a mechanism for holding a free and fair Plebiscite in cooperation and under the supervision of the United Nations.

Government of India has been outsourced the duty to provide law and order during the process. It may be that in 2014 or onwards the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in consultation with the Governments at Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and the United Nations may conclude that it has all the infra-structure for taking upon itself the law and order question and would not need Indian assistance any more. Or it may decide to remain equitous and request both India and Pakistan to provide joint forces for the law and order situation or avoiding a controversy decide to request the UN under UN mechanism to provide a neutral force.  Higher percentage in polls is an encouraging manifestation of political choice for local daily affairs of life. But the percentage in polls in the Valley would always remain suspect. It could be engineered as well on the basis of geographical trends and by inducting a number of pseudo candidates in one constituency through the broad spread mechanism of intelligence agencies entrenched in Kashmir. An example on record is the statement of ex-army chief in regard to army role in the legislative affairs of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947. He has ended on a serious note that J & K assembly members and ministers have remained on the pay roll of army. Jammu and Kashmir assembly has yet to conclude its show cause issued to the ex-army chief who now holds an important port-folio in the BJP Government.

High percentage or low percentage would not alter the jurisprudence of Kashmir case. If the first phase had started from Sopore, Baramulla or Srinagar the poll percentage would have been very low. Therefore, phase one has been designated in a manner that the geography, voting habits and the public interests and invisible machinery are able to influence the poll percentage to be trumpeted as a propaganda by the undemocratic and intrusive elements working secretly in Kashmir.  If I were at Naranthal, at this stage, I would have voted in favour of a candidate of my choice explaining my vote that it should not be considered as a no-trust vote in the “Separatists and others” who represent a common sentiment and that it should not be considered in any manner as my having second thoughts on the question of self-determination based on equality of people. It would be not only unfair but equally unwise to dump the responsibility of a trust and no trust vote at the doors of ‘Separatists” (if one calls them so).

All is not polluted or evil in these elections.  We should explain our vote before voting and circulate the UN Security Council Resolution of 30 March 1951 widely to assure people that current J & K assembly would be elected from only a part of the State and elections or any decision taken by it in relation to the future status of the State have no legal effect. UN has settled this debate in the Resolution. India continues to benefit by creating confusion and a hype around these elections and article 370. As a start Prime Minister of India and other BJP leaders have conceded that NC and PDP lead Governments in Kashmir have looted the funds released by Delhi for the people and that the people of Jammu and Kashmir need to be freed from a dynasty rule. BJP has been existing as a party for ages and it is for the first time that it has realised that Delhi has been striking a quid pro quo with NC and PDP to rule and loot in Kashmir. It would be unhelpful to dismiss BJP statement as an election campaign need because it is a fact and the cat is out of the bag. We should treat it as an element of hope. However, Prime Minister Modi has to walk an extra step in his courage and accept that Indian security apparatus in Jammu and Kashmir has been equally a partner in this loot. To find a non-Kashmiri source and witness BJP leadership should read the “Mission R & AW” by R K Yadav published by Manas Publications. NC and PDP have been accused of looting the State coffers. A common Kashmiri would be in his and in her rights to highlight to Prime Minister Modi that Delhi should also come clean on the exploitation of the natural resources of the State. These are trust properties embedded as a natural resource in the disputed habitat of Jammu and Kashmir. The massive use of water remains at the top. Prime Minister has highlighted the shame of non provision of toilets in girl schools in Poonch and in general households. As a consequence growing up girls give up education and women have to wait till it is dark and they go out in the open to relieve themselves. Why should a Kashmiri girls or boys school remain without a toilet when Government of India profits so much from the resources of Jammu and Kashmir and from the Kashmir properties spread all over India? Prime Minister Modi would be relying heavily on the advice of the intelligence apparatus spread in Kashmir and on the communal elements in secular India and communal elements in the Kashmiri Pandit community as well.

How far does he yield to this influence remains a litmus test and a test to his claim that he would return the Kashmiri trust with interest. Indian leadership be it Congress or now the BJP suffers from a trust deficit in Kashmir. The use of military, police and security apparatus to cause deaths, disappearances and torture in Kashmir is no more a secret. A Kashmiri Muslim (in the Valley) has only a process of life and he continues to be denied a quality of life. Enjoyment of a full regime of human rights has to run concurrent to his struggle for a free vote for self-determination. These elections have also brought home to BJP that Jammu and Kashmir is not a State that has merged in the Indian Union. The relationship (temporary) of Kashmir with India has been initiated on a federal basis and there is a clear “division of sovereignty between the Centre and the State.” Therefore beyond the powers transferred to the Union “the State enjoys complete residual sovereignty.” It should also be taken into account that The Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 and article 370 was to cover the case of Kashmir alone. Article 370 is linked with the temporary “Instrument of Accession”, which in fact became justiciable at the UN in January 1948.

The claim of NC and PDP that they will defend article 370 is an election gimmick and it has no merit. No Government in Delhi is in a position to vary the temporary terms of Instrument of Accession, tamper with article 370 and risk bilateral and  international reprimand (political and military) if it trundles to charge against UN Resolutions on Kashmir. India has a serious problem, which dates prior to its sending of military forces into Kashmir. Government of Pakistan has entered into a Stand Still Agreement with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in August 1947. As a consequence Government of Pakistan has been running the Post and Telegraph and Transport on behalf of Kashmir Government for some time. The two Governments or any one of these two could invoke the Agreement to cause fresh trouble for Delhi. NC, PDP or any other political manifestation that continues a quid pro quo with India and the widespread of intelligence apparatus is no insurance for further fooling and controlling the people for long. BJP leadership has rightly felt that it has its own limits and has very wisely left out article 370 from its Vision Paper on Kashmir, It has come up with an explanation that BJP Government would leave article 370 to the final choice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The choice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir has to be determined as provided by the UN Resolutions on Kashmir. It is an inclusive choice of Kashmiris living under three administrations of the State, in India, in Pakistan and as a Kashmiri Diaspora in rest of the world. Therefore, poll percentage is not a no-trust vote against Hurriyat and others. A voter should explain his vote before he or she votes. Kashmiri leadership campaigning for a poll boycott should hand out copies of UN Resolution of 30 March 1951 and remain in touch with all member nations of the UN and NGOs working on the jurisprudence of Kashmir case. They should not give up their role to trumpet and advance the merits of self-determination based on the equality of people.

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